Category Archives: Ann Arbor

20240116-31_At-home

Note:  There are six (6) photos in this post.  Photos by me (Bruce) taken with Google Pixel 6 Pro unless otherwise indicated.  (Photos by Linda taken with a Google Pixel 6.)

 

January 2024 — Rearranging furniture, and a night out

A week after we returned from Florida we had a proper snow event, as seen in this view of the rear deck of our house.  (Photo by Linda)

We enjoyed our brief sojourn to Florida, including our short cruise on the MSC Magnifica, but not enough to spend 116 days aboard the ship, in that class of stateroom.  But it was also good to be back home.  We have had a relatively dry winter, but we knew winter was not over.  Winter weather here can linger, if intermittently, until April.  Indeed, some of the worst ice storms we have had in this region occurred in April to early May.

We decided to rearrange the furniture in our basement recreation room to provide better viewing of the TV set, which included moving the TV set and associated furniture and electronics.  As a result, we also had to relocate the LAN Ethernet and OTA TV antenna coaxial cables.  Fortunately, I had left extra cabled coiled up above the suspended ceiling when these cable runs were originally installed.

The TV was previously located by the post next to the ladder at the left of the frame, so the LAN Ethernet and OTA TV antenna coaxial cables had to be relocated to the new location at the right edge of the frame.  I had to move quite a few of the ceiling tiles out of the way in order to affect the relocation, but I had plenty of cable to work with.

The Rec room TV/furniture arrangement as seen looking to the northwest from near the stairs to the main level.

The Rec room TV/furniture arrangement as seen looking northeast from near the bar.

The Rec room TV/furniture arrangement as seen looking east from the northwest corner of the basement.

Kate (L) and Linda (R), at Socotra Coffee House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  This was a new place for us, and looked like a very new establishment.  It features coffees, teas, and desserts of Yemeni origin.  ABIR, we each had a different coffee.  We agreed that they were different from what we are familiar with, but very good.  The desserts were also unusual in the sense of being unfamiliar but, again, very tasty.  The fact that there were open late was a bonus and provided a new option for someplace to go after dinner to enjoy extended conversation over coffee and dessert without the (apparently) inescapable noise of our usual restaurants and bar/grill establishments.

One of the things we look forward too each month is getting together with our friend, and my former colleague, Kate.  On this occasion, we tried a new place for coffee and dessert; Socotra Yemeni Coffee House on Packard west of US-23 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It was a nice way to close out the month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20231203-16_Misc_pre-holiday_stuff

Note:  There are 3 photos in this post, all taken by me (Bruce) on a Google Pixel 6 Pro.

 

SUNDAY 03 – SATURDAY 16 December 2023 — Getting back into home life

 

Sunday, December 3rd, 2023 — Getting the house back online.

When we are away from the house for more than a few days, I deactivate or adjust various things:

  1. I deactivate the water softener and chlorinator/filter by unplugging the AC power adapters.  The coin batteries remain in the controllers, but when the signal for a regeneration cycle, the motorized valves cannot respond.  Thus, nothing happens.
  2. I also turn off the UPS units for most of the electronics in the house. The exceptions are the one in the basement that powers the Xfinity gateway/WiFi-router and network switch, and the one by Linda’s desk in the kitchen, which powers the network switch that the whole-house generator communication module is plugged into.
  3. I also shut off the circuit breakers that feed the RV electrical outlets in our driveway.
  4. We might set some mechanical clock timers to control a couple of lights.
  5. We set all of the thermostats down and place them in a HOLD condition. (The thermostat in the workshop of the barn is set to maintain a temperature above freezing in the storeroom above it.)

Thus, one of the first things I have to do upon our return is reverse all of this.  I plug the water softener and chlorinator/filter back in, and will also typically initiate a regeneration cycle on one of them.  Which one depends on their remaining water treatment capacity.  UPS units are turned back on and electronics are powered up.  Thermostats are returned to the automatic/programmed operation, and light timers are put back in the switched position.  The RV outlet by the driveway in front of the house obviously gets turned on.

Apparently I have the (annoying) habit of laundering EVERYTHING upon our return from a trip.  In the case of RV travel, that includes towels and bedding in addition to clothes; sometimes even jackets, if I feel they need it.  This does not happen, however, in one day.  For one, it’s too much stuff that would take too much time and, for another, that much laundry at one go would overload the septic system.  And nobody wants that.  I suspect that I started on this task today, moving everything to the basement, sorting it, and selecting a load or two to start.

 

Monday, December 4th, 2023 — Chores, Chores, and more Chores

Whatever else we did today, I suspect that I spent part of it continuing to do the laundry.  I don’t mind doing the laundry, in fact I somewhat enjoy it.  In any event, it has to be done and Linda handles the kitchen pretty much by herself, so this duty falls to me.  It’s also likely that I powered up my laptop computer, downloaded e-mails, and started copying photos from our various devices to our NAS.

 

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023 — Winterizing the Airstream Flying Cloud travel trailer

I do not recall why I waited, but according to our calendar I winterized the Airstream travel trailer today.  My best guess as to why I waited a few days was that I had too much else to do on Sunday and Monday immediately after returning home, but it’s also possible that the weather today was more amenable.  Whatever the case, absent any other information to the contrary, I will just have to accept that today was the day for this task.  This is not one of my favorite RV maintenance tasks, but it is what it is and it has to be done, as the RV portion of our barn is not climate-controlled.  Actually, they main thing I really don’t like is having to do it in the cold.

 

This is a photo of the internals of the thermostat in the shop portion of the barn.  I don’t recall why I photographed it, but I obviously removed the cover to check something.  As it turned out, it is wired correctly, and it works just fine.

For the rest of this time period, we attended to various things.  I obviously put the Airstream travel trailer back in the barn once it was winterized.  Linda had a routine medical appointment, did some child-care for the two younger grand-daughters, resumed walking with her friend, Diane.  She also did some accounting work for the bakery, and booked shore excursions for the Disney Cruise Line DREAM in late February of next year.  (NOTE:  The two youngest grand-daughters did NOT know about this cruise yet, but I did not upload this post until May 2024.)

We also had two different HVAC service companies at the house; Lakeside Service takes care of our BOSCH hot-water baseboard heating system, and Schutz Heating & Cooling takes care of our Mitsubishi-Trane Heat Pump system, which they installed.  We had dinner with friends (and fellow Prevost converted motorcoach owners), Chuck and Barbara, and with our friend, Kate.  We also opened up our Boondockers Welcome site to accommodate a special request from a couple who had stayed with us before.  They needed a place to camp for a few nights while they took care of some medical issues at the University of Michigan Hospital.  It turns out that we are one of the few good options for this situation, and we have had other RVers stay here for the same reason.

 

Saturday, December 16th, 2023 — Cloning, ham radio, and a concert

Earlier in the week, I took the 1 TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD (solid state drive) out of my ASUS laptop computer and tried to clone it to a 2 TB version of the same drive.  I wasn’t sure I had done it correctly, so I arranged to go over to Mike’s house (W8XH, from SLAARC, the South Lyon Area Amateur Radio Club).  He did the clone of my original HDD to the 1 TB SSD a few years ago and used his equipment to do this one.  While I was there, I had a chance to look at some amateur (ham) radio gear that was for sale and for which he was acting as custodian.

 

This Kenwood transceiver caught my eye, but I was equally interested in the HP Signal Generator underneath it.  Ultimately, I had to pass on buying anything as I am not currently active enough in the hobby to justify buying more equipment.

In the evening, we attended the Holiday “Pops” (popular music) concert of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (AASO) at Hill Auditorium on the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor main campus.  The orchestra was good, but our main reason for being there was the Ann Arbor Youth Chorus standing behind the orchestra in the photo below.

 

The AASO and AAYC in concert.  Our middle grand-daughter, Mads, is in the last row, 6th from the left.  She was still 10 on this date, but would turn 11 a week later.